Vitamin D – Are You D-ficient?

Important Things To Know About Vitamin D:

Vitamin D and You

What Vitamin D is:

  • It’s not really even a vitamin – it’s a hormone in the end.
  • Mammals (such as us) make it in our body from sun
  • Vitamin D is vital for the health of every body.
  • light exposure.
  • Northerners even developed fair skin with less melanin, which maximized their ability to produce vitamin D from less sunlight than those living closer to the equator.

What Vitamin D Does:

  • It regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate in the bloodstream.
  • It promotes strong, healthy bones.
  • It plays a HUGE role in the body’s immune system response for defense against infections, bacteria, and other nasties.
  • It reduces systemic, chronic inflammation.
    It plays a potential role in decreasing the risk of various types of cancers.
  • It has been shown to reduce osteoporosis.
  • It plays important roles in making sure your heart, brain, lungs, immune system, muscles, organs – and pretty much everything in your body – works well.
  • A lack of Vitamin D has been shown to be linked to a number of health issues, including: heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, gout, chronic fatigue, Parkinson’s, poor dental health, Alzheimer’s, dementia, schizophrenia, fibromyalgia, MS, asthma, hypertension, glucose intolerance.

Where Does Vitamin D Come From:

  • Sunlight is what provides our body with Vitamin D.
  • If you don’t get enough daily sunlight exposure, then supplementation would be an alternative.
  • Foods alone provide very small amounts, usually not nearly enough Vitamin D for a healthy body.

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Suki Update

Suki2Suki turned 15 years old!

People are asking more often about Suki…”how is he?”  “he looks great for his age” “does he sleep alot these days?”

Not that folks weren’t interested in Suki pre-15th birthday mind you.  Some days you’d think he was a rock-star, especially if he wasn’t with me at the time.  Lots of inquiries.  “is he ok?”  “did something happen?”  “oh, thank goodness that he’s ok”, “he’s just home?”, “sleeping?”, “how old is he again?”  Clients, neighbors, friends, you name it, all cheering him on.  Suki has a very special place in the hearts of those who know him, as do all the 4-legged little angels that share our lives.

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He just got groomed this morning, and he’s looking super-spiffy.  Those big brown eyes are now clear of the bangs that were partially blocking his “view”.  And if his eyes could see better, he’d be seeing the whole world today.Suki loves it when he gets all trimmed and primped.  He’s proud as a peacock walking around, with a big smile on his face…patiently waiting for his requisite treat, while I schedule his next appointment with the groomer.

Make that 2 treats…and if he keeps milling around?  Yeah, 3 treats…I’m a sucker for a cutie pie (inside joke for those who’ve known me for years).

He’s sleeping now.  It’s lunch time and until the scents of food reach his nostrils, he’s out like a light.  But even at 15 years old, when he smells food, there’s no arthritis in his leg, or weak heart, keeping him from getting up to check things out (not to mention supervise every move I make in the kitchen, as if he’s Mr. Miagi teaching Emeril Jr. or something to “wax on, wax off”)

Chicken – check.  Broccoli – check.  Kale (yes, Kale) – check.  Green beans – yummy – check check!  Suki has always had quite the fondness for eating real food.  (And, no, he’s not a bit spoiled, either!)   😉

I think Suki has had maybe 2 cans of dogfood…in his entire life.  (Yeah, before you get in line to come back as my dog, just know that I have position #1 on that, lol!)

Two home cooked meals every day for 15 years.  Some have said that Suki eats better than I do…and I’d have to certainly agree, especially some days, when my tastes go toward foods that are, let’s say, less than ideal for good human health.

His energy levels have been slowly declining, with his major energy burst these days being in the morning.  The typical morning is: wake up, find out where mom is…uh oh, she moved…find where she is now.  Wait for the leash.  Yey, it’s walk time!!!!  (He may even do a hop-skip-jump to celebrate).

Ok, out the door we go.  Pee on something…pee on next thing….pee A LOT on that thing.  Sniff…and sometimes sniff for minutes at a time (what the heck could be so dang interesting to sniff for that long?!).  That was a rhetorical question, btw.

Do his business.  Kick a bunch of sand everywhere. (Sometimes more sand lands on my feet than on his business, if I’m not paying close enough attention that early in the morning.)   Have I mentioned that it’s early and I’ve not yet had my coffee…..?

And the further into our (short) walk, the slower he goes, even in the mornings.  His precious heart just can’t handle more than limited stimulation these days, not to mention Suki wanting to savor every last sniff and pee along the way.

Back to the house (finally!!) and then a treat.  How do I know this?  Because he waits patiently until I remember that I’ve forgotten (once again) to give him his requisite treat after his walk.  (Some mornings call for a large coffee, right?)

He eats a hearty, home cooked breakfast, then we play a bit (fetch, tug-a-war with the 2 teeth he has left to tug with)…and then he naps.  And naps, and naps.

During the day he’ll go out to pee a few times…then more treats…then more napping.

Dinner is served promptly when his tummy calls for it.  Another short walk in the evening to make sure he does his business before going to bed – but equally important, Suki makes sure to update all the places he peed on earlier to let his “4-legged friends” know that he’s been ’round again

He dreams while he sleeps. I hope they’re happy dreams, like him swimming with me in the ocean, then floating on my chest when he gets tired.  Or flirting with the “new girl” in the neighborhood.  He’s totally cute when he does his “prancy-dance”, where he prances and dances to show off for the cute gals he meets along his path.

Suki’s a precious soul, with a beautiful (and sometimes mischevious) smile, and those big brown eyes.  Though his body struggles more and more to keep up with “him”, Suki is determined to live as much of today as he possibly can (which is really all we can all do, right?)

I think a nap is sounding good right now…

Top 10 Symptoms of Exhaustion

Symptoms of ExhaustionAt the end of a long day, or after a particularly strenuous workout, you might feel “like you are exhausted.” We often use this word, exhaustion, to communicate our feelings of extreme tiredness.  Exhaustion, however, is a specific word meant to describe a pervasive and chronic state of fatigue of, either or both, body and mind.

Wondering if you might be suffering from exhaustion?  See if you can relate to these top ten symptoms of exhaustion:

  1. You’re tired for no reason: You know that if you’ve been short on a good night’s sleep and then had a busy day, you’re going to feel tired come dinnertime.  If you are deeply fatigued, however, and you’re unable to point to one specific reason for your tiredness, then your deep fatigue is typically regarded as a symptom of exhaustion.  This is a sign Continue reading

What Does Pain Mean?

What Is PainHave you ever owned a dog?

Think about a time that your dog was trying to communicate with you.  Did your dog pace back and forth?  Or did he bark?  Maybe he brought you his toy when he wanted to play?

Dogs can’t speak English, but they know how to get very creative when they’re trying to get our attention, right?

Well, what if our body is doing the same thing?

Take a moment to think back on your day.  Did you notice any pain or discomfort in your body?

Did you ignore that discomfort (like most people do)?

What if the pain and discomfort we feel in our body Continue reading

is like a dog pacing back and forth to the door?  What if discomfort is the body’s way of communicating with us…its way of trying to get our attention about something that needs attending to, just like our dog?

If we look at discomfort being a sign of something amiss in the body, then when pain comes up in our body, we could take a moment to try to determine what our body is trying to communicate to us.

What would your body be saying to you?

Take a moment now and close your eyes.  Go back to a time when you were experiencing discomfort in your body.  Then ask your body, “Body, what were you trying to tell me?”

And just remain quiet until you get some sort of response.  Let your quiet awareness be your guide.  You may have a vision, or a memory of some sort, or a flash from your intuition. Or you might even remember a conversation, or something you saw on TV.

The response you receive may or may not make any logical sense to you right now.  Let that be ok.  What came to your awareness is connected to what your body was trying to communicate to you via the discomfort that you were having.  It will make sense, given time.

Our body is a sensing organism.  Our body is an incredibly intelligent tool that exists to give us, the Being, feedback about all that is going on in our surroundings.  Our mind (a data filtering tool) plays a big part in what actually gets through to our conscious awareness and what doesn’t.  If the mind has been programmed to filter out the signals coming from our body, then signals like pain, hunger, thirst, etc. get blocked from coming to our conscious awareness.

Many of us have stress-filled lives.  We have too many things to do, and not enough time.

When our minds get programmed to delete or dim down signals coming from the body, then we become disconnected from these signals.  And just like our pets, if the body can’t get our attention right away, what is the body then going to do?

It’s going to speak more loudly.

Pain and discomfort arise for many reasons.  Maybe you’ve been pushing too hard, and your body needs more rest or more frequent breaks.
Maybe you’re not feeding your body enough nurturing foods, and instead eating too much comfort food to detach from stress or other emotions.
Maybe your body is dehydrated and would like more water to replenish its resources.

Or you may be experiencing your body communicating with you about other imbalances:

Is your career path creating happiness and fulfillment for you?
Are there negative emotions or thoughts that keep circling through you?
Are there important needs and desires that you have not allowed yourself to express?
Is your outlook positive and hopeful?
Are you hanging on to the past, or do you frequently worry about the future?
Are your relationships fulfilling and nurturing, or are there people that drain you of energy?
Are you confident about meeting your goals, or do you feel stressed out about them?

Our thoughts and emotions are stored in our body.  If there are many negative thoughts or emotions going through us, the body may be trying to communicate that to you through signals of pain and discomfort.

Here’s a simple Self-Awareness tool that takes 30 seconds:

When you have a quiet moment (lock yourself in the restroom if you need to),
Sit comfortably, and close your eyes.
Begin scanning your body from your feet upwards.
When you get to a spot on your body that is uncomfortable, ask that part of your body, “What one small thing can I do to help you be more comfortable?”
Pay attention to the very first thing that your quiet awareness shares with you.  This information will be what you’re seeking.
After you’ve obtained a response, pay very close attention to any negative thoughts about the response, such as, “I can’t do that.  I’m too busy right now.”
Allow any negative thoughts to pass on by, and instead ask your body, “What is the easiest way for me to _____________.” (fill in the response you got from the previous question).
And wait quietly for the answer.
Follow this answer and implement it.

By using this Self-Awareness Tool regularly, you will be learning how to interpret your body’s signals, much as we do with our pets.  You’ll develop a 2-way communication with your body.  And the result will be that you will experience much less pain and discomfort in your body.

Let your body’s wisdom be your guide.

Live Life Fully,
Sandy Schell, ACST, LWC

Beat The Heat

Summer Beach ImageIt’s shaping up to be a very hot summer. Here are some tips to stay cool as the mercury rises:

1.  Stay hydrated – drink at least 60-80 oz of water each day.  Our body sweats more in hot weather, so it’s much easier to become dehydrated – and overheated.

Tip:  Keep a gallon bottle of water nearby, and refill your portable bottles frequently.

2.  Stay cool – wet and Continue reading

wring out a small hand-towel. Place the towel around your neck if you begin to feel too warm.  Re-wet it frequently.  Doing this will help you feel more comfortable & may reduce your body temperature to a more optimal level.

Tip:  When traveling, hiking, or engaging in sports, keep the towel in a gallon ziploc bag for convenience.  Keep it moist, and use it often.

3.  Go Barefoot – yep, that’s right…take off your shoes.  For most of us, adjusting the temperature of our feet helps the rest of our body be more comfortable.

Tip:  Keep a pair of stylish, but comfortable flip-flops handy, and change into them if you start to feel uncomfortably warm.
By following these tips, you’ll find yourself more able to handle the heat this summer.

Do you have a great “Beat The Heat” tip?  Email me at [email protected]

I would enjoy your feedback and wish you THE BEST of HEALTH this Summer!

Live Life Fully,

Sandy

Sum, Sum, Summertime!

Summer PicnicIt’s coming up summer all over the place! The kids are out of school and it’s time for some fun and R&R. While many will be traveling to far-off parts, there are also a wide variety of inexpensive activities to get involved in and place to visit this summer.

From family picnics at a local park to a romantic weekend get-away to Siesta Key in Sarasota, everyone can find something to soothe and nurture your harried soul.

Here are some suggestions: Continue reading

Pack a picnic, a blanket, a kite or frisbee, and go to an area park for the day. Just the 2 of you? Enjoy a nap or read a good book. Bringing the kids? Pack a soccer ball and a kite. Bring simple foods and lots of water too.
Take a drive to somewhere new. Bring some water and healthy snacks. Pile in the car and head off with only a general direction in mind. Go somewhere you’ve not been and when you get there, go exploring. Drive around. Browse the shops. Visit something unusual.
Enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch at your favorite bistro, followed by music in the park. Bring some comfy chairs or a blanket, and let the day gently take you with it. (This is a great way to bond with your special someone after a hectic week.)

Up for something different? Go to an Arts & Crafts Show. Or go kayaking and pack a nice lunch to enjoy afterwards. Maybe bring a fishing pole and cast a line in the water.

I hope this is helpful, and would enjoy your feedback.

In Joy,

Sandy

Breathing For Life

BreatheBreathing… It’s something we all do, hopefully on a regular basis. 🙂

All kidding aside, there are 2 very simple ways that you can reduce your stress levels – right now – by breathing better for a minute or two.

Method #1 – Great while you’re at the office:

Put one hand on your stomach area, just under your ribcage, and one on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose into your stomach, so that your tummy expands as you inhale. If you’re doing this correctly, the hand on your stomach should move much more in comparison to the hand on your chest as you inhale.

Once you get comfortable with this Continue reading

, then practice inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. As you get more comfortable, close your eyes as you continue inhaling through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. See if you can exhale in twice the amount of time it took you to inhale.

Note that the breaths should be comfortable, yet you should be inhaling and exhaling more deeply than you normally do.

Doing this for even just 60 seconds will help remove toxins from your body, help your relaxation response kick in, and calm your heart rate. Incorporate this method during your breaks, and see how much more focused and calmer you feel, even during those hectic periods.

Method #2 – Great when you have a few minutes to yourself:

Known as the “cleansing sigh”. Begin by sitting comfortably, though with relatively good posture (no slouching). Inhale deeply, and then, as you exhale, let yourself sigh.

Repeat a total of 10 times, and as you get comfortable doing this, let your shoulders drop as you exhale. This method will also help you let go of pent up anger and frustration as well.

Spending 1-2 minutes a day doing some deeper breathing can help your body and mind serve you better.

I hope this is helpful, and would enjoy your feedback.

Migraines and Dehydration

WaterThe holidays are on the horizon, with the related “to-do” lists forming in the back of most people’s heads.  Though for most people , the holiday season means family, parties, friends, and celebrations, for some this time of year works out to be much more stressful than fun.

What I’ve noticed over the years is that Migraine sufferers end up having an increase in the frequency and intensity of their suffering during the holidays.  There are, undoubtedly, many factors involved, but one factor in particular, stands out above the others. Continue reading

Dehydration –   a/k/a less than adequate daily water intake.

While dehydration may sound like an extreme term for someone who just doesn’t drink enough water, the importance of adequate water intake cannot be understated.   Our brains consist of about 80% water.  Our muscles are more than 75% water.  Even our bones are comprised of 50% water.

So, why else is water so important?  Water is involved to some degree or another in everything the body does.  Water promotes, provides, and supports innumerable functions in our body including the following:

Water helps our bodies digest the foods we eat, and absorb & assimilate nutrients.  Water helps remove toxins from our cells and organs;  it supports the regulation of our blood pressure.  Water is necessary for our bodies to form new blood cells, and water is a transport medium for communication from the Central Nervous System to the rest of the body.  It even supports our having an effective immune system, so if you find yourself having frequent colds and illnesses…you may want to take a closer look to see if you’re drinking enough water every day.  I could go on and on, but I wont.  Needless to say, water is a fundamental necessity for our body’s well-being.

During the holiday season, we all tend to drink less water, and indulge in food and drinks that dehydrate the body even further, including coffee, sugary items, and alcohol.  To add to that, many do not sleep as well, what with all the activities, parties, commitments, traveling, etc., which compounds the dehydration in our bodies.

Migraine sufferers have it particularly bad this time of year, and one way to mitigate some of the suffering is to get enough water into your body every day.  I recommend to clients that they keep a 16oz bottle of water in the car, one on their desks at work, and one by the TV remotes at home.  These act as visual reminders to drink water throughout the day.

Wishing You Well,

Sandy Schell

Tips For Insomnia

SleepingInsomnia:  Tips on Getting Restful Sleep

Do you find it difficult to go to sleep at night?

Or do you find yourself lying awake in the middle of the night, not being able to go back to sleep?

Rest assured (no pun intended) that you are not alone.  It is estimated that upwards of 70% of us suffer with occasional to chronic insomnia.

While there are different Continue reading

types of insomnia, these are some easy steps that you can take to support getting a restful night’s sleep:

  • Eat your last meal of the day at least 3 hours before bedtime, so that you’re not going to bed on a full stomach.
  • Avoid consuming liquids before bedtime.  This includes alcohol, which tends to disturb the deeper levels of sleep.
  • Limit your caffeine consumption to the morning hours.  Keep in mind that many sodas have high levels of caffeine.
  • Don’t exercise within 2-3 hours of your bedtime.
  • Make sure to urinate before going to bed, so to avoid midnight trips to the bathroom.
  • Maintain a relatively regular sleep schedule.  Having a routine of going to bed and rising the same time each day, including weekends, will help your body turn itself “off” each night.
  • Watching TV can actually disturb your sleep cycles.  Try reading, meditating, deep breathing, or prayer for ½ hour before bed to help your mind slow down.
  • Soak in a warm bath.  For added relaxation, add 6 drops of lavender essential oil and ½ cup Epsom Salts.  Turn off the phone, ask the family to give you 20 minutes of no interruptions, and enjoy the time to yourself.
  • Adjust the thermostat and make sure you have a comfortable atmosphere and bed to sleep in.
  • Many people have trouble sleeping due to stress.  Keep a journal, in which to write down all your thoughts and worries before going to sleep.  And if you are a list-maker, jot those down in your journal as well.
  • End your day with gratitude.  List at least 3 things you are grateful for, even if it’s something as simple as the day is now over.

By following these simple tips in supporting our minds and bodies, restful sleep may become a welcomed friend once again.

Live Life Fully,

Sandy

Delegate For Your Health

List To DoBeing in business isn’t getting any easier for those of us who own small businesses.  Some days the many hats we wear can leave us feeling like we’ve been juggling bowling balls all day.

And with all we’re trying to manage, it’s no wonder we’re not sleeping, and consequently feeling exhausted and suffering from a variety of ailments, whether headaches and back pain or repetitive strain and digestive issues.  All this in the name of ‘getting it all done’.

Though the ever-increasing stress levels can leave us feeling overwhelmed (or worse), there are a few simple ways to Continue reading

get more done in a day without cloning yourself.

The first and easiest way to shorten the list of responsibilities you face is to delegate tasks and projects to others – either at home or on the job.

Consider the following:

 

At Home

1.  Get all the family members together, including your spouse and the kids.  Put together a list of all the chores and responsibilities that need managing in a given week and divide it up amongst the group.  For example, many kids 12years old and up are capable of sorting and doing simple loads of laundry.

2.  Keep a list on the fridge with each family member’s name and their responsibilities, which can be checked off as their done.  Rewards for attention to detail and such are a great way to keep the family motivated.

3.  Do you have pets?  Give the responsibility of feeding and refreshing the water to the kids.  When it comes time for their baths and haircuts, hire a pet-sitter to take your pet to and from the groomer.  It’s just one more thing on your “to-do” list that you can cross-off.

4.  For Birthday, Holiday, or other party-planning needs, simplify your life by hiring a party-planner to coordinate and manage the details.

5.  When you’re traveling, hire a sitter to bring in your mail, check on the house, and care for your pets, so you can really relax and enjoy your time away.

 

At Work

1.  Get the kids involved in small tasks at work.  I know of one small business owner who has his 12-yo daughter enter all his invoices into Quickbooks one day after school each week, for his review afterwards.  She gets extra allowance and it saves him time to do more important things in building his business.

2.  Hire an outside service to take care of planning trips and such.  Give the planner your itinerary with a list of your priorities, which saves your precious time for more important tasks and decisions.

3.   We all have information that can easily fall through the cracks, whether it’s license renewals, taxes, thank-you cards, or customer birthdays.  Use Microsoft Outlook, or some other management program to keep track of information and dates for projects, contacts, tasks, and “to-do” lists.

 

With a bit of planning, and being persistent in delegating, you can drastically reduce your own load, so you can sleep at night, take better care of yourself and your health, and get more enjoyment out of each day.